Solomon Inn Navigates 2020 - 2021 Season with Good Cheer and Good Eats
Despite the many challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020-2021 year was another successful one for The Gus J. Solomon Inn of Court. The Inn adapted to the pandemic by holding meetings over Zoom, which allowed members to prepare and participate from the safety of their homes (or wherever else they quarantined).
In recognition of how truly surreal the circumstances were, our program theme was 2020-2021: A Science Fiction Odyssey, and each pupilage group began with a piece of science fiction to use as the source of inspiration for their CLE. It resulted in several fascinating programs, including a group that used the film Spaceballs as inspiration for a CLE on water rights in Oregon and the west, and another based on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, which inspired a CLE on Oregon’s historical treatment and exclusion of minorities.
The theme led to a diverse range of presentations and clever uses of technology. Many groups incorporated costumes and custom backgrounds to make it appear as if they were presenting from such locations as outer space, underground bunkers, or amidst riots and protests. Many topics were timely and covered hot-button issues such as race issues in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder, what would happen if then-President Trump had declared martial law after the election, the Capital Insurrection, free Brittany Spears, and more. Topics were handled both seriously and irreverently (and often, a little of each).
Because we could not gather in person for our joint inn meeting, community service project or our end of year dinner, we worked with the other Portland Inn of Court (the Owen Panner Inn of Court) to plan a joint, multi-purpose event. For the community service prong of the event, we had a “front porch” food drive, in which members of both Inns donated money or food (which a member of our Executive Committee then delivered) to a local food pantry. At the end of the food drive, members of both Inns were invited to a joint Zoom social event. The event was held on May 25, 2021, and featured cooking lessons from The Kitchen at Middleground Farms. There were small breakout rooms before, during, and at the end of the lessons so members of the two Inns could chat. The food and drinks were delicious (according to those who made them during the presentation) and the conversations were lively and fun.
In the end, we believe that the Gus J. Solomon Inn of Court had a great 2020-2021 year. We made the best of a difficult situation, fostered community and connectiveness in a time of isolation, and provided a monthly bright spot for many of our members. That said, we very much look forward to being able to resume in person gatherings in 2021-2022.